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J Occup Environ Med. 2018 Jun;60(6):548-558. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001284.

Risk Factors for Declines in Kidney Function in Sugarcane Workers in Guatemala.

Author information

Center for Health, Work, and Environment, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health (Dr Butler-Dawson, Mr Krisher, Ms Tenney, Dr Weitzenkamp, Ms Dally, Dr Newman); Colorado Consortium on Climate Change and Human Health (Dr Butler-Dawson, Mr Krisher, Ms Tenney, Ms Dally, Dr Asturias, and Dr Newman); Pantaleon, Guatemala (Dr Asensio and Dr Cruz); Department of Biostatistics and Informatics (Dr Weitzenkamp); Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases (Dr Asturias); Center for Global Health (Dr Asturias and Dr Newman); Department of Epidemiology (Dr Asturias and Dr Newman), Colorado School of Public Health; and Division of Pulmonary Science and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine (Dr Newman), School of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, Colorado.



To characterize kidney function of sugarcane workers in Guatemala over the 6-month harvest and identify risk factors associated with changes in kidney function.


Demographic and biological data were collected for 330 sugarcane cutters at the beginning and end of the harvest. Multivariable regression analyses were used to assess factors related to kidney function.


A decline in kidney function across the harvest was observed in 36% of the participants. Risk factors associated with this decline included working at a particular plantation mill, local area workers compared with highland workers, and current smokers.


Results showed both occupational and behavioral factors play significant roles in declines in kidney function. These results underline the need for a comprehensive approach to the epidemic as well as further investigation of risk factors to guide research and interventions.

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